So I did something really stupid, forgot the admin password to my server running MS Server 2012. I so rarely shut down and have to log in because my server is running 24/7 that when I lost power and had to log back in, I couldn't remember my password. I'm trying to avoid having to reinstall the entire the OS because of a rookie mistake, mostly because of all the services running on this server. I've downloaded quite a few trial "recovery tools" but these seem to do everything except reset a password. If anyone could guarantee that a particular application works and is worth paying for, I'd be happy to pay for something to save myself the days and days of reinstalling and reconfiguring all the different services. So my question is, what is the path of least resistance to getting full access to my server again?
I regularly use Offline NT Password & Registry Editor:
However, I cannot vouch on whether it works well for Server 2012 or not. As usual, take precautions and perform a backup before attempting this.
This works on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012 R2. You will need Windows Server 2012 Installation DVD to reset password.
Reset Windows Server Password with Installation CD
- Insert the installation disk to your locked computer, restart. When following interface appears. Click “Repair your computer”.
- A dialog with several options pops up, choose Troubleshooting tools, then Command Prompt.
At the Command Prompt, type the following 2 commands. (if your correct
C:drive doesn't appear, find it first and use that drive)
copy c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe c:\windows\system32\sethcbak.exe copy c:\windows\system32\cmd.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
Restart your computer. On the login screen, tap Shift key five times and you'll see a command prompt screen in administrator mode. OK, type
net user UserName NewPassword(replace the UserName and UserPassword with the one you need) and press Enter key. The user password will be replaced with new one. Close the window and then you can log in that user with new password.
Once you've logged in successfully, copy the real sethc.exe back in place to prevent a random person from repeating your feat (without at least rebooting the machine):
copy c:\windows\system32\sethcbak.exe c:\windows\system32\sethc.exe
Use a third party tool to reset the administrator password. There are a variety of these, which you can find with a trivial Internet search.
I won't recommend any particular tool, and neither does Microsoft:
Some third-party companies claim to be able to circumvent passwords that have been applied to files and features that Microsoft programs use. For legal reasons, we cannot recommend or endorse any one of these companies. If you want help to break or to reset a password, you can locate and contact a third-party company for this help. You use such third-party products and services at your own risk.